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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended February 09, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 07Feb01

By Kent Larsen

Mr. Flake Goes to Washington

WASHINGTON, DC -- The newest LDS congressman, Jeff Flake, is trying to make his mark in Washington, and has spent his first month there figuring out the system. Flake, the former executive director of the conservative Goldwater Institute, won a four-way Republican primary last September and the subsequent general election to capture the seat held by retiring fellow LDS Church member Matt Salmon.

Flake's first month has been a busy one. He has already appeared on several television networks defending Bush's cabinet nominees and has discussed upcoming legislation with Republican House leaders. He says he has discovered that under the House rules it is almost unnecessary to deal with Democrats. "Aside from passing each other in the hallway or talking at a committee hearing, Democrats and Republicans just don't associate much at all," Flake said.

Among a group of freshman Republicans invited to the White House to talk over Bush's proposed tax cut, Flake says that he is an enthusiastic supporter of the plan. But, he does disagree with the administration on one point, "The tax cut could be a lot bigger because the economy needs this kind of boost right now."

In addition to the tax cut, Flake is also working on a bill, which will be the first he introduces, to end federal mandates that he says forces local school districts to use federal dollars for bilingual education. The issue is controversial in Arizona because a ballot measure there last November restricted bilingual education, and federal officials have said that the new restrictions violate federal law.

Flake was also honored recently by the Club for Growth, a wealthy group of conservatives who back candidates that support certain issues, including cutting taxes and privatizing Social Security. One-quarter of Flake's campaign funds came from members of the group, and they invited Flake to speak on a panel of "rising stars" on Capitol Hill.

Club President Stephen Moore says that the group thinks Flake is the perfect congressman to support its agenda. "We thought Jeff was the second coming of Ronald Reagan," Moore said. "He's good looking, a good talker and we think he can be a real star in Congress."


Jeff Flake: Washington newcomer
(Phoenix) AZ Republic (Gannett News Service) 7Feb01 T2


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